Thursday, February 5, 2009

I Hate Monkeys

I have to say it up front, many times over the years I have voiced out loud, "I hate Monkeys." I must confess however that no monkey has ever caused me either any lasting psychological harm or personal injury of any kind but I have seen enough monkeys jumping on people's backs and scampering off with jewelry and head wear to not ever trust them. You only have to be hissed at by a large male with barred fangs once to know that you are not dealing with Curious George when it comes to a showdown with a monkey.

I have come with two friends to the Sacred Monkey forest in Ubud. The last time I was here 5 years ago the screeching and fighting of the long tailed macaques, of which something like 340 live there caused me not to even enter the gate.

On my first morning I had run by the forest very early and seen monkeys clambering everywhere on buildings in the nearby neighborhood.

We have come early and the monkeys do not seem overly aggressive. As I wander here and there I am tempted to start thinking of them as cute, if not uncooperative photo subjects. You have to be fast to catch a good monkey shot.

Monkey, my monkey,

Your restlessness-life

Has won a transformation-face.

What a miracle!

Yesterday you belonged

To God's unconditional Grace.

Today you belong

To God's Aspiration-race.

Excerpt from Animal Kingdom by Sri Chinmoy.

There are many interesting sites in the forest besides monkeys. There are statues and temples that have been in use for a long time. The stone used is soft and volcanic. It ages quickly and the almost daily rain means moss grows everywhere.

The mind has

Its monkey-tricks.

The heart has

Its deer-speed.

xcerpt from Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants, Part 253 by Sri Chinmoy.

The more time I spend in the forest the more I grow comfortable with the monkeys. I have no food for them so they are not much interested in me.

It didn't take too long before I became obsessed on pursuing the monkeys with my camera. If my friends had not pushed on out of the forest I might have been still there, up in the crook of a mossy tree.

The mind-monkey

Quite often climbs up and sits

On the indifference-tree

Excerpt from Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants, Part 88 by Sri Chinmoy.

An impatience-monkey-mind

Shall remain always afraid of

My silence-tranquillity-heart.

Excerpt from Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 14 by Sri Chinmoy.

There are a lot of rules you should follow when you enter the Sacred Monkey forest. More importantly you should consider that you are outnumbered by the various monkey troops by something like several hundred to one. And if you ever get delusional enough to consider the possibility of actually petting a monkey and being its friend you are plain out of your mind. After this visit however I have decided that hate is too strong an experience to have with a creature that looks a lot like me. Albeit a hairier and cuter version of myself.


Everybody has to capture

And tame

His monkey-mind and vital-horse.

Excerpt from Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants, Part 165 by Sri Chinmoy.


Miss Dewey Decimal said...

i am so jealous.

Pavitrata said...

I am enjoying your blogs so much; this one especially. How well you choose the poems, how entertaining your writing, and what good photos. Bravo, old chap.
I will not hear a word against monkeys, by the way. Think Hanuman.
Think of that fellow in Cardiff. He swings with the best of them.

pip pip.